By Emily Leayman
Kutztown University Radio manager Mike Regensburger has counted about 200 RVSPs to the station’s 10th anniversary celebration Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. in the Georgian Room of Old Main. He has much to be excited about after a widely successful fifth anniversary party in 2010.
All former KUR presidents are expected to be there, and current KUR president Maureen Dillon is excited to talk with them.
“I’m hoping to hear some of their ideas of where they saw the station going in the past and what they think of where we are now. It’s going to be a very cool experience. I’m the first female President of KUR too, so it’ll be interesting to hear their viewpoint on that,” she said.
Other attendees will include former KUR members, people the station has interviewed and worked with, the president of the People Academy in Wyomissing, possibly acting president Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto and Kutztown mayor Sandy Green.
Three bands have already confirmed performances for the celebration. Former KUR member Laureen Cook and her boyfriend will be performing as an acoustic folk duo. Another band headed by former KU professor Peter Licona is returning after being well-received at the fifth anniversary show. The third performer is a jazz-fusion band. The station is also working on a fourth, potentially a hip-hop group.
“We’re trying to get all different genres,” Regensburger said.
He considers the celebration a 10th anniversary of the station’s rebirth, since it existed in the 1960s and was revived in 2005. In anticipation of the event, KUR worked with the alumni office to find old KUR members dating back to the 1960s.
“What’s great is that we invite all the old alumni back from way back when, and all the people that were involved in the reborn station in the past ten years,” he said.
A former KUR member will carry along his camera and reminisce with the station’s alumni. This will transform into a commemorating video on Youtube. Although the event will take place in Old Main’s Georgian Room, a few students will remain at the station in MSU 188 if former disk jockeys want to see what it looks like now.
Current KUR members, such as vice president Matt Cech, Braden Stone, Nick Gorrie, Ashley Chuck, Mitch Lambert, Brandon Conniff and Victoria Tagliamonti have been helpful in planning the event, according to Dillon.
KUR started out as “a little pirate radio station in the bottom of Rothermel Hall in the 70s, 80s and 90s,” according to Regensburger. Although it was a hobby station where students could do a show when they felt like it, there was still a group of committed students.
Then came the “dark years,” where the station all but disappeared, with a small group of students sticking together and still calling themselves KUR. That group was motivated to revive the station.
A university committee decided to hire someone to dedicate all of their work to it, since usually a faculty member advised it before. Regensburger applied and got the job in April 2004. He then faced the task of getting the station ready again to be on air.
“The first day in the studio over there was entering three empty rooms with nothing in there but a bunch of old CDs and records laying around. They were like ‘here, have fun, build a station,’” he said.
He did not think his job would last more than a month, but he received support from students, faculty and administrators. In eight months, on Jan. 24, 2005, KUR once again turned on the air.
From then on has been a wave of interviews – like porn actor Ron Jeremy – to “heated” on air debates about issues such as abortion, and even recognition from former State Senator Mike O’Pake.
Regensburger says that college radio is “one of the last bastions of what radio used to be,” with the radio business becoming ultimately “corporatized” today.
“I like helping students be able to see that and to have that [creative] side of them come out,” he said. “They all say…that KUR is probably one of the best experiences they had when they were in college.”
Dillon agrees that joining KUR was the best decision she made in college and looks forward to talking with veterans at the celebration.
“I’m excited to celebrate 10 years of an amazing college radio station with current KUR members and alumni. I’m really excited to meet the alumni and share stories about how KUR has changed all of our lives, because it truly has impacted each and every one of our lives for the better,” she said.
“10 years to see…absolutely nothing turn into that and to still be active and growing every year is just heartwarming,” said Regensburger.